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Friday 24 August 2012

The real meaning of retreat and the Thermopylae of Texas

I am retreating from Saturday through Tuesday. It is a real retreat. Every year, once a year, I try and go to a Benedictine monastery for a retreat. I love the hours, the silence, the chant, either in English or Latin.

But, this year, I am really retreating. I live on the border of Notting Hill and Bayswater, and I am escaping from the Carnival, which will literally come up to my door. It is horrible. The original meaning of this carnival, to unite the immigrant communities, is gone. It is money and sex, sex and money.

The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest in Europe. It has never been connected to a feast day, such as the carnivals for Mardi Gras or Epiphany. It is purely secular. Many of the locals have left for the weekend. The rubbish skips have gone since yesterday. I cannot even empty my garbage. All the parking is highly restricted, which it is anyway in this area. I can hear steel bands in the is all surreal.

I am retreating. I shall blog, but lightly. Perhaps I shall do three posts instead of six. And, JonathanCatholic has graciously written two posts for me so that I can retreat.

Otherwise, I would feel like James Bowie or Davy Crockett at the Alamo.

Here is poem for the heck of it from the newspaper, the Telegraph and Texas Register, August 9, 1836.

The Texan Marseillaise.

Texians, to your banner fly,
Texians, now your valor try,
Listen to your country's cry;
Onward to the field.

Armed in perfect panoply,
Marshaled well our ranks must be:
Strike the blow for liberty,
Make the tyrant yield.
Who is he that fears his power?
Who is he that dreads the hour?
Who is he would basely cower?
Let him flee for life.
Who is he that ready stands
To fight for Texas and her lands?
Him his country now commands,
Onward, to the strife.
Small in number is our host,
But our cause is nobly just:
God of battles is our trust
In the dread affray.

I want to praise...

...all my Catholic single friends. I am so happy to know so many women and men who are single because they are Catholic. What do I mean?

I think of David, who is trying to find the right, traditional woman, who wants to be good trad husband and have children. Bravo, David, you have kept your standards, being honest and true to yourself and your goals.

I think of A, who is a Third Order Dominican, a highly intelligent career woman, who longs for a trad Catholic man and children, but suffers because she has chosen not to settle for less, choosing to be chaste and good.

I think of T, who loves children and cooking and is one of the most beautiful women I know. She is always thinking of others. She has chosen chastity and the vision of a real Catholic family. She waits, like A, and in that they are to be commended. They are single because they are holy and want a husband who will walk into Eternal Life with them.

I think of V, another career woman, who wanted all her life to be married. She always does the right thing. She is wise and good. She prays, she suffers in her loneliness, but follows the Ten Commandments.

I think of F. who works so hard in missionary work. She would love to be a wife, but no one has found her.

I think of M, who hates living alone, but keeps busy, thinks, and prays for others, does the little things that no one notices. She also will not compromise her Faith or morals.

I praise all my single friends because they are single BECAUSE they love God and His Laws, because they know they want a traditional Catholic marriage, because they are beautiful people.

Because you are good and true, you are single. Because you are virtuous, you are single. Because you love Mary, Our Mother, you are single. Because you love the Tridentine Mass, you are single.

I have used the phrase "Trust and Wait" on this blog many times. I got it from The Count of Monte Cristo.

Trust and Wait. I know you shed tears. I know you suffer. Trust and Wait.

God loves you all so very much.

In stories, there is knowledge and healing...

I just watched Princess Mononoke again, which is one of my favourite animes. The story is intriguing for many reasons. One reason is that the hero and heroine are complex, modern, and yet portray universal traits, necessary for fairy stories, which it basically is. I do not like the dubbed version, preferring the original.

The very young hero is named Ashitaka,  a prince, of course, as he must come from noble background and appeal to the universal desire for knights in shining armour. But, he is cursed by killing a demon in order to save his people and he must go on a quest to fulfil his doom and, we hope, be healed. I am not going to spoil the story if readers have not seen it.

The girl with whom he falls in love is a typical wild, wolf-girl; a character found in many stories across the globe, and of course, she is a princess. Her name is San. But, she has the old story of a foundling, one of the most ancient oft fairy tale plots in the world. We are like orphan,s who have been found.

So far, East meets West in symbolism and appeal. What I like about the story is the plot which involves a keen understanding of human nature, and the fact that imperfection must become perfect. Again, I shall not spoil the ending, but a type of perfection is achieved--not quite.

It is a story of love and healing, sacrifice and bravery. Good stuff. It is very Christian, and the Japanese anime movies of this ilk tend to pursue Western and well as Eastern themes of fall and redemption. One of my other favourites, which I have mentioned on this blog is Gankutsuou, which is physically beautiful as well as profoundly "Christian". (But the book is better).

This movie is not for young children, as it is scary and too violent, and involves demons and spirits of another religious view, fine for older ones, but not the young. However, children need stories of failure and redemption. It is our story, as humans, starting in the Garden of Eden. And, we have a happy ending, because of the Passion and Death of Christ. The Resurrection brings us new life.

The human spirit reaches out for such stories. May these types of productions never stop being produced. We need them.

Trying to find intelligent commentary on Irish politics

I have been reading the Irish Times on-line for one eight months. Can anyone recommend a decent news source from Eire which is not embarrassingly stupid? I would like to read some intelligent commentary on Irish politics. Suggestions, please.

I guess anarchists read

A man from Spain and I were discussing anarchists in Europe, and I was trying to convince him they were organized. He just could not believe it. He does not read much on-line. Well, he should. And, anarchists read, as well as have blogs,websites and international organisations. Catholics ignore these groups at their own peril. Chaos can be organized.

I find it somewhat droll that there is an annual anarchist book fair in London and it is on a university campus. One can buy pink anarchist tee-shirts for the ladies and baby blue for the men. Am I missing something here?

Maybe this sounds odd to you or maybe not, but what is an important university doing hosting an annual anarchist book fair? Are we so blasé to think there must not be support for anarchy at Queen Mary's, University of London? Maybe I am not tolerant enough.

In case you think these are just students having a good time, here are the main principles and goals from the website:

The Anarchist Federation is an organisation of class struggle anarchists (based in Britain and Ireland, but with many contacts overseas) which aims to abolish Capitalism and all oppression to create a free and equal society. This is Anarchist Communism.
We see today's society as being divided into two main opposing classes: the ruling class which controls all the power and wealth, and the working class which the rulers exploit to maintain this. By racism, sexism and other forms of oppression, as well as war and environmental destruction the rulers weaken and divide us. Only the direct action of working class people can defeat these attacks and ultimately overthrow capitalism.
As the capitalist system rules the whole world it's destruction must be complete and world wide. We reject attempts to reform it such as working through parliament and national liberation movements (like the IRA) as they fail to challenge capitalism itself. Unions also work as a part of the capitalist system, so although workers struggle within them, they will be unable to bring about capitalism's destruction unless they go beyond these limits.
Organisation is vital if we're to beat the bosses, so we work for a united anarchist movement and are affiliated to the International of Anarchist Federations.